Privacy Policy

Thank you for accessing the web site ("Site") of American Forestry. ( We respect your privacy and want to protect your personal information. To learn more, please read this Privacy Policy.

This Privacy Policy explains how we collect, use and (under certain conditions) disclose your personal information. This Privacy Policy also explains the steps we have taken to secure your personal information. Finally, this Privacy Policy explains your options regarding the collection, use and disclosure of your personal information. By visiting our Site, you accept the practices described in this Policy.

This privacy policy applies only to this Site. This privacy policy does not necessarily apply to our offline collection of your personal information. Please see below for details.

We are not responsible for the content or privacy practices on any web site to which this Site links or that links to this Site.


Information Collection and Use

1. Information Collection.

We collect information from you in several different ways on this Site. One goal in collecting personal information from you is to provide an efficient, meaningful, and customized experience. For example, we can use your personal information to:

  • help make this Site easier for you to use by not having to enter information more than once.
  • help you quickly find information, products, and services.
  • help us create content on this Site that is most relevant to you.
  • alert you to new information, products, and services that we offer.

2. Registration and Ordering.

Before using certain parts of this Site or ordering products, you must complete an online registration form. During registration, you will be prompted to provide to us certain personal information, including but not limited to your name, shipping and billing address(es), phone number, email address, and credit card number. In addition, we may also ask you for your country of residence and/or your organization's country of operation, so we can comply with applicable laws and regulations, and for your gender. These kinds of personal information are used for billing purposes, to fulfill your orders, to communicate with you about your order and our site, and for internal marketing purposes. If we encounter a problem when processing your order, we use the personal information to contact you.

3. Email Addresses.

Several locations of the Site permit you to enter your email address for purposes including but not limited to: to register for a free shoe giveaway; to request us to notify you when we receive a new brand, new product style, or product size; to sign up for our email newsletter and special offers. Your participation in a contest is completely voluntary, so you have a choice whether to participate and disclose information to us. We use this information to notify contest winners and to award prizes. We may post on our Site the names and cities of contest winners.

4. Cookies and Other Technology.

Like many sites, this Site employs cookies and web beacons (also known as clear GIF technology or "action tags") to speed your navigation of the Site, recognize you and your access privileges, and track your Site usage.

Cookies are small pieces of information that are stored as text files by your Internet browser on your computer's hard drive. Most Internet browsers are initially set to accept cookies. You can set your browser to refuse cookies from web sites or to remove cookies from your hard drive, but if you do, you will not be able to access or use portions of this Site. We have to use cookies to enable you to select products, place them in an online shopping cart, and to purchase those products. If you do this, we keep a record of your browsing activity and purchase. THIS SITE'S COOKIES DO NOT AND CANNOT INFILTRATE A USER'S HARD DRIVE TO GATHER A USER'S CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION. Our cookies are not "spyware."

Web beacons assist in delivering cookies and help us determine whether a web page on this Site has been viewed and, if so, how many times. For example, any electronic image on this Site, such as an ad banner, can function as a web beacon.

We may use third-party advertising companies to help us tailor site content to users or to serve ads on our behalf. These companies may employ cookies and web beacons to measure advertising effectiveness (such as which web pages are visited or what products are purchased and in what amount). Any information that these third parties collect via cookies and web beacons is not linked to any personal information collected by us.

As an example, Facebook collects certain information via cookies and web beacons to determine which web pages are visited or what products are purchased. Please note that any information collected by Facebook via cookies and web beacons is not linked to any customer's personal information collected by us.

5. Log Files.

As is true of most web sites, the Site server automatically recognizes the Internet URL from which you access this Site. We may also log your Internet protocol ("IP") address, Internet service provider, and date/time stamp for system administration, order verification, internal marketing, and system troubleshooting purposes. (An IP address may indicate the location of your computer on the Internet.)

6. Age.

We respect children's privacy. We do not knowingly or intentionally collect personal information from children under age 13. Elsewhere on this Site, you have represented and warranted that you are either 18 years of age or using the Site with the supervision of a parent or guardian. If you are under the age of 13, please do not submit any personal information to us, and rely on a parent or guardian to assist you.

7. Product Reviews.

You may choose to submit a product review. If you post a review, we will ask for your email address and geographic location. If you submit a review, your geographic location will be visible to other users (your email address will be kept private). Also, any personally identifiable information that you submit as part of the review can be read or used by other visitors to the Site. We are not responsible for any personally identifiable information that you choose to submit as part of your review. We believe you can post a helpful review without disclosing any personal information.


Information Use and Disclosure

1. Internal Use.

We use your personal information to process your order and provide you with customer service. We may internally use your personal information to improve our Site's content and layout, to improve our outreach and for our own marketing efforts (including marketing our services and products to you), and to determine general marketplace information about visitors to this Site.

2. Communications with You.

We will use your personal information to communicate with you about our site and your orders and deliveries. Also, we may send you a confirmation email when you register with us. We may send you a service-related announcement on the rare occasions when it is necessary (for example, if we must temporarily suspend our service for maintenance.) Also, you may submit your email address for reasons such as to register for a free shoe giveaway. If you submit your email address, we use it to deliver the information to you. We always permit you to unsubscribe or opt out of future emails (see the opt out section, below, for more details). Because we have to communicate with you about orders that you choose to place, you cannot opt out of receiving emails related to your orders.

3. External Use.

We want to provide you with excellent service and to offer you a great selection - we primarily sell merchandise, not information. We do not sell, rent, trade, license or otherwise disclose your specific personal information or financial information to anyone, except that:

As do most Internet retailers, we sometimes use others to perform specific functions on our behalf. When we disclose information to these service providers, we disclose information to help them to perform their service. For example, in order to deliver products to you, we must share some information. We partner with third parties (such as the U.S. Postal Service, United Parcel Service, and Federal Express) to ship products, to ensure delivery, and so that we can obtain feedback, improve the quality of our service, and measure and improve the quality of the service of the third party. In the example of shippers, we provide them some personally identifiable information such as your name, shipping address, email, and phone number.

Similarly, to help you buy products and provide customer service to you, we must provide your credit card number to financial-services corporations such as credit-card processors and issuers. When we submit your credit card number for authorization, we use state-of-the-art data encryption to protect your information. (More on this below in Data Security.)

We may be required to disclose such information in response to requests from law-enforcement officials conducting investigations; subpoenas; a court order; or if we are otherwise required to disclose such information by law. We also will release personal information where disclosure is necessary to protect our legal rights, enforce our Terms of Use or other agreements, or to protect ourselves or others. For example, we may share information to reduce the risk of fraud or if someone uses or attempts to use our Site for illegal reasons or to commit fraud.

We will not sell (or trade or rent) personally identifiable information to other companies as part of our regular course of business. However, it's possible that we might acquire or merge with or be acquired by another company or that we might dispose of some or all of our assets. If that happens, your personal information may be disclosed to another company, but that disclosure will be subject to the Privacy Policy in effect.

We may share non-personal information (such as the number of daily visitors to a particular web page, or the size of an order placed on a certain date) with third parties such as advertising partners. This information does not directly personally identify you or any user.


Data Security

This Site incorporates physical, electronic, and administrative procedures to safeguard the confidentiality of your personal information, including Secure Sockets Layer ("SSL") for all financial transactions through this Site. We use SSL encryption to protect your personal information online, and we also take several steps to protect your personal information in our facilities. Access to your personal information is restricted. Only employees who need access to your personal information to perform a specific job are granted access to your personal information. Finally, we rely on third-party service providers for the physical security of some of our computer hardware. We believe that their security procedures are adequate. For example, when you visit our Site, you access servers that are kept in a secure physical environment, behind a locked cage and an electronic firewall. While we use industry-standard precautions to safeguard your personal information, we cannot guarantee complete security. 100% complete security does not presently exist anywhere online or offline.

Opt Out/Corrections

Upon your request, we will (a) correct or update your personal information; (b) stop sending emails to your email address; and/or (c) disable your account to prevent any future purchases through that account. You can make these requests at the customer information section of this Site or by emailing your request to's Customer Support department at Please do not email your credit-card number or other sensitive information.

Offline Collection, Use & Disclosure of Information

As you might expect from, the majority of information that we collect is obtained through our Site, and this Privacy Policy applies only to that online collection of personal information. We also collect information offline, where we also try to protect the privacy of you personal information. One example involves someone calling us to place an order or to ask questions. When someone calls, we will ask only for the personal information we need in order to place the order or to answer the question. When we need to store information (such as order information), we will enter it into our database through SSL encryption. (See the Data Security section above for more information). Another example involves faxes. If you fax something to us, we will act upon the fax and then either store it a locked repository or we will shred the fax if there is no need to retain the information. There are other ways we could learn of personal information offline (for example, we suppose someone could send us a letter including some return address information), and this Policy doesn't discuss or try to predict all of those methods or uses. As we mentioned, we primarily sell merchandise, not information, and we will try to treat offline collection, uses, and disclosures consistently with our relevant online practices.

Update to this Policy

If we change or update this Privacy Policy, we will post changes and updates on this Site so that you will always be aware of what information we collect, use and disclose. We encourage you to review this Privacy Policy from time to time so you will know if the Privacy Policy has been changed or updated.



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Determining Guide Bar & Saw Chain Compatibility

In order to figure out if the Guide Bar and Saw Chain you plan to use together are compatible, there are (3) key specifications that you must match up: 

(1) Pitch, (2) Gauge, and (3) Drive Link Count

Your bar and saw chain must have the same exact specifications, otherwise they will not work together. Please see the rest of this guide, and/or utilize the in-page navigation links to determine how you will find these exact specifications.

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FYI, many retailers call out the length of the saw chain (in inches) as a starting point for customers, but please be aware: determining compatibility solely by length is the most common reason we see for incorrectly ordered saw chains. While a saw chain and guide bar may be the same length in inches, the rest of their specs (Pitch, Gauge, or Drive Link Count) may differ, making the pair incompatible. Again, the only specifications you really need to ensure compatibility are Pitch, Gauge, and Drive Link Count of both your guide bar and saw chain.


Measuring Your Chainsaw Chain

We'll let you in on a little secret. There are two ways that you can figure out the size of your replacement chain even without access to a product manual: 

  • Measure the chain yourself, using instructions below.
  • Look on other parts of the saw for the measurements, most likely on the guide bar OR on the drive links of your saw chain (easiest options).


How to Measure Chainsaw Chain Yourself

To find a chain replacement, you'll need to figure out three numbers:

  • Pitch:  the distance between the chain's drive links
  • Gauge: the width of the groove where the chain fits into the bar
  • Drive Link Count: # of drive links contained within the loop of chain


Measuring Pitch

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Chain pitch is the length of the links in the chain. To determine the pitch, you'll need to measure the distance between any three consecutive rivets, then divide the result by 2. The rivets are the small, round pegs/studs that hold the chain segments together. Measure from the first to the third, then divide that number in half to get your chain pitch. Pitch is important because the drive sprocket (and if applicable, the bar nose sprocket) of your guide bar must be the same pitch as the chain.


The most common measurements of pitch you'll see on replacement chain are 3/8" and .325", but may also be .325” Low Profile, .404”¼”¾”, or ⅜” Low Profile


Measuring Gauge

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Chain gauge, on the other hand, means the thickness of the drive links of the chain. Your saw chain’s gauge can be determined by measuring the portion of the drive link that fits into the groove of the guide bar, usually expressed in thousandths of an inch. For your reference, normal wear can make it difficult to accurately measure chain gauge on a worn chain. 

The most common saw chain gauge sizes are .043" (1.1mm), .050" (1.3mm), .058" (1.5mm),  and .063" (1.6mm), but may also be .080” or .122”.


Measuring Drive Link Count

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Count the number of drive links on your old chain loop to get the correct replacement chain. Simply count the drive links around the entire loop of saw chain. The drive link count is the last 3 numbers before the last letter on the Oregon chain part number. 

For Example, 72LGX072G = 72 Drive Links; 18HX078E = 78 Drive Links.


Where to LOOK for Measurements on your Saw Chain

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Your old saw chain (that you are replacing) may also contain all the info you need, as the type of saw chain is typically stamped right onto the drive links. The specific saw chain type will provide you with the Pitch and Gauge. For your reference, Stihl uses an extra marking on the tooth link to determine size.Please view the different brands’chain codes, their meanings, and brand-to-brand conversions to Oregon saw chain, below. Once Pitch and Gauge are figured out, all that’s left to do is count and match up the drive links. 

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Oregon Chain Families: Understanding the Differences

We understand that the needs of woodcutters – professionals and novices – are as diverse as the terrains and environments in which they work.

Oregon has organized their saw chains and guide bars into product families with key characteristics that different users will value. These product families will ensure that you choose the right chain and bar based on your everyday needs. It will make understanding the differences between our products effortless. Feel free to click on the titles below to see our company's saw chain offerings. 

    The ultimate saw chain for loggers and skilled forest workers who use high performance saws. Full chisel cutters power through timber with speed, efficiency, and precision.
    Faster cutting performance for wood-cutting professionals who use mid-size saws under 55 cc. Narrow kerf system requires less power to cut through high volumes of wood quickly and easily.
    Ideal for wood cutting professionals looking for a fully featured cutting system that delivers smooth cutting and reduced kickback. Easy to maintain saw chain, with a forgiving sharpening profile.
    Ripping chain created specifically for chain-type sawmills. Produces smooth ripping cuts with supreme efficiency to make precise boards and planks.
    Easy-to-use, precision sharpening system that gives chainsaw users the power to sharpen their chain in a matter of seconds with a simple attachment. Patent protected features make PowerSharp a major advance over other sharpening methods.
    Easy to maintain and light-weight for optimum maneuverability. It is the perfect tool for carvers, pruners, and any other user who values extra-fine cutting.
    Perfect for homeowners or landscapers who occasionally need to cut trees. The low kick-back design makes it easy to get great results, even if you don’t wield a chainsaw every day.
    Designed for landowners and tree-cutting professionals who require a multi-purpose, high performing saw chain. Uses cutters designed for maximum durability and versatility.

Determining Guide Bar & Chainsaw Compatibility

In order to figure out if the Guide Bar and Chainsaw you plan to use together are compatible, you will need to determine (3) key specs for your chainsaw:

(1) “Required Bar Mount,” (2) Pitch, and (3) Gauge

By definition, replacement bars that are interchangeable with the original bar are those that both fit your saw (bar mount and pitch) AND take the same type of chain (pitch and gauge).

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In practice, there are several different mount, pitch and gauge combinations in use - even in the chainsaws and bars of a single manufacturer - meaning most guide bars are mutually incompatible. Please view the rest of this guide to learn best practices of finding this info yourself.


Measuring Your Guide Bar


Bar Length

Many retailers call out the guide bar's length as a starting point for customers.

While the guide bar length isn’t always necessary to know when trying to determine compatibility, it will help us narrow down what size of bar you’re looking for.

You'll be measuring the usable length of the bar, also called the cutting length, or the called length.

To find the called length of your chainsaw bar, measure it from its front tip all the way back to the cutter closest to the body of the saw.

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Round this measurement up to the nearest inch. For example, a bar that measures 19 3/4" will actually have a called length of 20".

You then could look for a new bar with a 20" bar length. 


Bar Mount

Most chainsaw bars use a superficially similar arrangement of slots and holes for mounting to the chainsaw body. This arrangement is called bar mount (or tail mount). To be compatible, a guide bar and a chainsaw must have a matching bar mount type

Notice in the photo below the many variations that bar mounts can be oriented. Size and relative location varies between brands and also product lines of a given brand. Sadly, small differences make mounts incompatible: if the holes do not line up, the bar won’t fit or won’t work properly.


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To make it easy, we only sell Oregon-brand guide bars. Each chainsaw brand/model will utilize one Oregon bar mount (possibly two, depending if the “old” bar mount has been discontinued/superseded by a newer one). 

If you are replacing an old Stihl or Husqvarna guide bar, please take a look at our bar mount conversions below to determine which Oregon bar mount you will need for your chainsaw.


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Converting Your Bar Mount to Oregon's Bar Mount

Oregon has dozens of bar mount variations that are used to accommodate an array of different chainsaws and brands. Oregon’s bar mounts are indicated by the last 4 digits of the part number (one letter followed by three numbers). For example, the Oregon 200RNDD025 would utilize bar mount D025

Depending on the brand and age of guide bar you use, you'll most likely be able to find your guide bar's bar mount by looking at the part numberguide bar etching, or online using your chainsaw's Brand and Model #. 

***If you have trouble finding this info for yourself, please reach out to us with your chainsaw's Brand and Model. We understand this can get quite confusing.***

Please view some of the common Stilh/Oregon & Husqvarna/Oregon Bar Mount Conversions, below:

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Stihl bars use three types of bar mounts that can be determined by looking at the first 4 digits of the guide bar part #, usually etched into the guide bar itself:

“3005 - small” (converts to Oregon’s A074);

“3003 - medium” (converts to Oregon’s D025);

“3002 - large” (converts to Oregon’s E031 or E099).

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Husqvarna uses two bar mounts that can be determined by the model number of the chainsaw you're using: 

“small” (converts to Oregon’s K095)

“large” (converts to Oregon’s D009).

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Where to LOOK for Measurements on your Guide Bar

Your chainsaw’s guide bar may have all the information you are looking for stamped right into it. It can usually be found near the back of the bar, where it mounts to the saw.

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For instance, in the example above, the chain is 3/8” pitch and .050” gauge with 72 drive links. This, along with the bar mount conversion from above, should be all the information you will need to get the proper replacement guide bar.


Oregon Guide Bar Families: Understanding the Differences

We understand that the needs of woodcutters are as diverse as the terrains and environments in which they work. We’ve organized our guide bars into product families with similar characteristics to help you find the right guide bars for your work.

    For loggers and skilled forest workers who require heavy-duty guide bars. The tough chrome-moly steel body powerfully cuts through timber quickly and efficiently.
    Designed for landowners and tree-cutting professionals who require versatility without sacrificing strength. Switch easily from pruning to felling without changing saws.
  • CONTROLCUTIdeal for woodcutting professionals who make precise and smooth cuts during their work day. This guide bar’s lighter weight reduces operator fatigue.
    Designed specifically for woodcutting professionals who work in challenging and punishing environments. The ultra high-wear resistant stellite nose and chrome-moly body gives you the power to cut through any challenging terrain.
    Perfect for homeowners or landscapers who need a reliable guide bar that is light-weight and maneuverable. The bar is also designed to reduce kickback.
    Designed for homeowners who need a light-duty bar for limbing and pruning. The bar offers users greater control, reduced kickback, and it is reversible.
    For woodcutters who cut high volumes of wood. Narrow kerf, light-weight, and ideal for professionals who need mid-sized bars for saws under 55cc.
    A harvesting machine is only as good as its cutting attachments. That’s why discerning users choose Oregon Harvester Bars. Their harvester bars make your wood processing machine rise to its potential - maximizing your cutting efficiency while minimizing your down time.

Chain Maintenance

Sharpening Your Saw Chain

If your saw chain is no longer self-feeding, you have to push on the saw, or the waste material from your saw creates sawdust, it is time to sharpen your chainsaw chain. A good rule of thumb is to sharpen your chain every time you refill gas. 

Please view the video below to see how Oregon recommends sharpening saw chain with files:

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Please view the videos below to see how Oregon recommends grinding saw chain with their 520-120620-120410-120 Bench Grinders, as well as their Sure Sharp Mini Grinder. Please use the video time-stamps to jump to the section of the video that you need. 

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Determining the Correct File to Use for Your Saw Chain

There are a handful of file sizes that are each meant to sharpen different saw chains, determined by the Pitch of the saw chain. In order to determine the correct file for your needs, you would need to locate the Pitch of your saw chain by using one of the methods mentioned above: finding the code on drive linksetching on bar, or directly measuring the saw chain

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If you have determined the pitch of your saw chain, this table above can be used quite universally with most brands of saw chain. 

However, there are some key notes to be careful of when determining the right file:

  • Round files go only with round grind teeth. If you notice straight sections and multiple angles on the cutting edge, check the specific filing instructions for that chain model.
  • Regular and Low Profile Saw Chain require different size files. 3/8” and 1/4” Pitch chains come also in Low Profile (Picco) versions, which have lower cutters and take a smaller file.
  • Manufacturer recommendations vary from time to time, meaning it's always worth it to check your specific saw chain’s manufacturer recommendation. ***Sometimes intermediate sizes, 11/64” and 13/64”, are recommended instead of the XX/32” sizes.***


File Size Conversions by Popular Brands

Please view the recommended file sizes for common Husqvarna saw chain and Stihl chainsaws, below:

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Filing and Grinding Sizes/Angles for Oregon Saw Chain

If you are filing/grinding a saw chain other than Oregon, please use the saw chain converters above to determine the correct angles for your saw chain. Grind your chain so that it meets the recommendations of the manufacturer. 

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Saw Chain Lubrication

Fill your oil reservoir each time you fill your chainsaw’s gas tank. Make sure that your saw chain, guide bar, and sprocket are always receiving oil from the saw during operation.

Keep your saw's chain-oiling system filled with clean bar and chain oil. Oregon bar and chain oil is specifically compounded to provide extra high tackiness and prevent "throw off" even under adverse weather conditions. 

As a rule of thumb, you should never put used oil or old motor oil in your saw or on your chain. Used motor oil contains metal shavings that reduce the life of your bar and chain. Additionally, lubricating your bar and chain with used motor oil will void your warranty.

Tips for Dealing with Cold-Weather Wear


  • Use a lighter weight of bar-chain oil, or dilute bar-chain oil 25% with clean kerosene or diesel oil (you’ll need to use twice as much of the diluted oil) and be certain your chain is receiving oil from the saw.


  • Keep cutters sharp.
  • Touch up every hour, more often if needed.
  • Do not force dull chain to cut.


  • Turn symmetrical bars over to equalize rail wear.
  • Keep the bar groove clean and oil holes open.


  • Check and adjust often.
  • Keep your chain correctly tensioned.

Depth Gauges

  • It's recommended to check the bite of cutters is regulated by the height of the leading portion of each cutter, commonly known as the depth gauge.
  • Check and adjust your cutter's depth gauges at every sharpening.

Drive Sprocket

  • Be sure to read the operator's manual supplied with your chainsaw in its entirety.
  • Replace the sprocket after every two chains, or sooner if wear is evident.


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Download PDF Here!



In general, you will need at least 50cc to run our smallest mill (G777). The more powerful your saw, the easier your milling experience is going to be. Consult the chart to see if your chainsaw has enough power to do the job you want it to do. Under-powered saws will take longer to make a cut and may overheat and possibly fail. You will definitely want to use a ripping chain and take your time. Granberg will not take responsibility for damage caused by using saws that are under-powered. We also recommend against using battery or electric saws.

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It's important to have proper wedges. Depending on the size of the log you are milling, the weight of the slab or beam may be pinching the chain. Using wedges as you move through the cut can help lift the wood out of the way. Wedge early, wedge often. You can buy some on our website here if you don't have any at home.

A good wedge is at least 6″ long, 3″ wide and tapered from 3/4″ to 0″. Best to put at least 5 in your back pocket or tool pouch. After you cut into the log, about 2 feet, put the first wedge into the beginning of your cut. Then put a wedge in every two feet.

Larger, thicker slabs require more support, meaning use more wedges and tapping them in really well.

Lighter, smaller slabs require less support, meaning use less wedges and giving just a quick tap.



Yes, all of the Alaskan mills we carry can be adapted to fit a smaller bar, because the thickness rails have a channel all the way down that will allow the depth post to be moved. So, if you have a 32” bar, you will want a 36” mill (G778-36). The nose end depth post can be adjusted down to fit the smaller bar.

Likewise, if you have a 36” bar at the moment, but are maybe thinking about investing in a larger bar, you can buy a 48” mill (G778-48) and put it on the smaller bar until you get the upgrade.

One consideration you will have to make is although you can put a larger mill on a smaller bar, the mill size itself will not change, so you will need enough room to operate a 48” mill even if you are only using a 36” bar. This is really only an issue in the thickest of brush. If you’re milling in your driveway or front yard, you shouldn’t have a problem.



Learn from Mr. Erik Granberg, President of Granberg International the tips and tricks to getting the best results from your Alaskan Chainsaw Mill.

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1. THREE important things to consider before milling. One, does your chainsaw have enough power? (see bar/power reference chart). Two, ripping chain is necessary! Three, a first cut system to assist in your first cut. (0:35)

2. Inspect log and debark. Check diameter of log vs the cutting width of mill. Is your mill going to make it through the cut? There may be a section that is too wide. This can be trimmed before milling. (2:00)

3. Mount Alaskan Mill onto bar. Adjust to fit bar. Avoid clamping down on the sprocket nose. Tighten all hardware. The clamping bolts for the bar and end bracket require 10-12 pounds of torque. Tighten evenly. All other carriage bolts use 8-10 pounds of tightening torque. Do not over tighten, this only weakens the bolts. (3:15)

4. Tool kit check. (11:07)

5. Safety Equipment. Chaps, gloves, boots, eye and ear protection are required! (11:51)

6. Make sure your wedges are handy! (12:20)

7. Best way to start your second cut. (13:17)

8. Wedging tips while milling. (14:18)

9. What to look, listen and feel for while milling. (14:54)

10. How to exit the cut. To keep the mill from dipping when exiting cut, put a little back pressure on upright handle and support the powerhead. (17:24)



Selecting a rope involves evaluating a combination of factors. Some of these factors are straight forward like comparing rope specifications. Others are less quantitative like a preference for a specific color or how a rope feels in your hand.

Fiber and construction being equal, a larger rope will outlast a smaller rope, because of the greater surface wear distribution. By the same token, a stronger rope will outlast a weaker one, because it will be used at a lower percentage of its break strength with less chance of overstressing.

Consider the opinion of professional climbers who may have more experience as to how well a rope performs. Consider also the reputation of the rope manufacturer. Are they involved with and supportive of the arborist industry? Do they stand behind their products with consistent quality and reliable service? Buying unproven ropes because they are a little less expensive is false economy and can lead to disaster

Some things to consider when looking at ropes are:

  • Strength
    When given a choice between ropes, select the strongest of any given size. A load of 200 pounds represents 2% of the strength of a rope with a breaking strength of 10,000 pounds. The same load represents 4% of the strength of a rope that has a breaking strength of 5,000 pounds. The weaker rope is having to work harder and as a result will have to be retired sooner. Braided ropes are stronger than twisted ropes that are the same size and fiber type.
  • Elongation
    It is well accepted that ropes with lower elongation under load will give you better load control, a big help at complicated job sites. However, ropes with lower elongation that are shock loaded, like a lowering line, can fail without warning even though it appears to be in good shape. Low elongating ropes should be selected with the highest possible strength. Both twisted ropes and braided ropes are suitable for rigging. Twisted rope has lower strength and more stretch. Braided rope has higher strength and lower stretch.
  • Firmness
    Select ropes that are firm and round and hold their shape during use. Soft or mushy ropes will snag easily and abrade quickly causing accelerated strength loss. Because the fibers are in a straighter line, which improves strength but compromises durability, loose or mushy rope will almost always have higher break strengths than a similar rope that is firm and holds its shape.

USING the Rope

Proper use of your ropes, maintaining them, and staying within recommended working loads will allow you to get the most from your rope investment. Working loads are calculated to maximize safety and extend the working life of both climbing and rigging lines. Dirt and grit embedded in the fibers can also significantly shorten rope life. Keep them clean, bagged and properly stored when not in use.

  • Working Loads
    Working loads are the loads that a rope is subjected to in everyday activity. They are normally expressed as a percentage of new rope strength and should not exceed 20% for rigging lines and 10% for climbing lines. A point to remember is that a rope may be severely overloaded or shock loaded in use without breaking. However, damage and strength loss may have occurred without any visible indication. The next time the rope is used under normal working loads the acquired weakness can cause it to break. Do not blame the rope, it was simply overloaded and failed from what is known as fatigue.
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  • Shock Loads
    Shock loads are simply a sudden change in tension – from a state of relaxation or low load to one of high load. Any sudden load that exceeds the work load by more than 10% is considered a shock load. The further an object falls, the greater the impact. Synthetic fibers have a memory and retain the effects of being overloaded or shock loaded and can fail at a later time, even though loaded within the normal working load range.
  • Cleanliness
    Modern arborists ropes often have 12, 16, or even 24 strands of fiber bundles making up their constructions. Dirt and grit can work their way in between the strands where they act like tiny knives. As the rope flexes, the grit and abrasives can act like tiny knives, cutting away at the strands of the rope from inside. This is why it is important to keep your ropes as clean as possible, especially if you are working in an area with lots of sand or grit. A brush tarp or rope tarp laid out at the base of the tree to pile the rope on is a great way to keep it clean. Better still is deploying the rope directly from an arborist rope bag. This ensures that the rope stays as clean as possible, and also helps prevent tangles and snags. View our selection of rope bags here. Ropes can also be washed, either by hand in a rope washer or by placing it in a mesh rope-washing sack and washing it in a front-loading washing machine with a gentle detergent or Rope Soap. Chemical solvents or abrasive cleaners should NEVER be used on an arborist rope. Always let your ropes dry before storing them to prevent mildew and mold.


One of the most frequently asked questions is “When should I retire my rope?” The most obvious answer is before it breaks. But, without a thorough understanding of how to inspect it and without knowing the load history, you are left making an educated guess. Unfortunately, there are no definitive rules nor industry guidelines to establish when a rope should be retired because there are so many variables that affect rope strength. Factors like load history, bending radius, abrasion, chemical exposure or some combination of those factors, make retirement decisions difficult.

Inspecting your rope should be a continuous process of observation before, during and after each use. In synthetic fiber ropes the amount of strength loss due to abrasion and/or flexing is directly related to the amount of broken fiber in the rope’s cross section. After each use, look and feel along every inch of the rope length inspecting for damage as listed below:

  • Abrasion
    When the rope is first put into service, the outer filaments of the rope will quickly fuzz up. This is the result of these filaments breaking and this roughened surface actually forms a protective cushion and shield for the fibers underneath. This condition should stabilize, not progress. If the surface roughness increases, excessive abrasion is taking place and strength is being lost. As a general rule for braided ropes, when there is 25% or more wear from abrasion the rope should be retired from service. In other words, if 25% or more of the fiber is broken or worn away the rope should be removed from service. With three-strand ropes, 10% or more wear is accepted as the retirement point.
  • Glossy or Glazed Areas
    Glossy or glazed areas are signs of heat damage with more strength loss than the amount of melted fiber indicates. Fibers adjacent to the melted areas are probably damaged from excessive heat even though they appear normal. It is reasonable to assume that the melted fiber has damaged an equal amount of adjacent unmelted fiber. Unlike fiber compression, melting damage cannot be mitigated by flexing the rope. Melted areas must be cut out and rope respliced or the rope must be retired
  • Discoloration
    With use, all ropes get dirty. Be on the lookout for areas of discoloration that could be caused by chemical contamination. Determine the cause of the discoloration and replace the rope if it is brittle or stiff.
  • Inconsistent Diameter
    Inspect for flat areas, bumps or lumps. This can indicate core or internal damage from overloading or shock loads and is usually sufficient reason to replace the rope.
  • Inconsistent Texture/Stiffness
    Inconsistent texture or stiff areas can indicate excessive dirt or grit embedded in the rope or shock load damage and is usually reason to replace the rope.
  • Temperature
    When using rope, friction can be your best friend or worst enemy if it is not managed properly. By definition, friction creates heat, the greater the friction, the greater the heat buildup. Heat is an enemy to synthetic fiber and elevated temperatures can drastically reduce the strength and/or cause rope melt-through. Each rope’s construction and fiber type will yield a different coefficient of friction (reluctance to slip) in a new and used state. It is important to understand the operational demands and ensure the size, rope construction and fiber type be taken into account to minimize heat buildup. 
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  • Volume Reduction
    Rope displaying 25% strand volume reduction from abrasion – rope should be retired from service. Amount of volume reduction that indicates retirement depends on rope construction. Refer to “check list” below:
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  • Flat Spot
    Rope displays a snagged strand. If the strand can be worked back into the rope, no need to retire. If not, this indicates a retirement point.
  • Cut Strands
    Rope displays two adjacent cut strands. This rope should either be retired or the cut section should be removed. If possible, re-splice. Number of cut strands that indicate retirement depends on rope construction. See “checklist” below:
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There are dozens of pulleys and blocks available for the use of arborists today. However not all are created to the same specifications, and there are many applications which will put high demand on the hardware and for which only certain blocks should be used. While the terms "block" and "pulley" are largely interchangeable, we have divided them into two main groups for clarity:

  • Blocks
    Built for tree rigging, including negative blocking - sustain shock loading a situation where the load free-falls momentarily before being caught by the block. This places far more force on the hardware than normal lowering, therefore only arborist blocks should be used in such situations. Arborist blocks have widened cheek plates to protect the rigging line from abrasion against the tree. Arborist blocks also have an upper sheave to safely attach a rigging sling. See our collection of Blocks Here.
  • Pulleys
    Built for many purposes, not ideal for negative blocking - excellent tools for lowering static loads. They are not manufactured to handle shock loading and for these reason are often cheaper than arborist blocks. The relatively narrow cheek plates on a pulley may expose the rope to abrasion, so care should be taking that the line does not rub against the tree when rigging with a pulley. Most pulleys have carabiner holes in the upper body rather than an upper sheave, and so the rigging sling can not be tied directly to the pulley, and a shackle or clevis is necessary for safe operation. See our collection of Pulleys Here

Other factors to consider when choosing a block or pulley are:

  • Rope Diameter Capacity - Blocks may be safely used with rope sizes up to the max. diameter capacity.
  • Sheave Diameter - The wider the sheave diameter, the less it will reduce the breaking strength of the rope or sling.
  • Working Load Limit (WLL) - Working Load Limit is the maximum load the block is intended to handle. The percentage of breaking strength that constitutes the WLL is different from one manufacturer to another, but is generally 20 -25%.
  • Breaking Strength (Brk Str) - This is the weight at which the device fails under test conditions.
  • Bearing vs. Bushing - Bearings are more expensive than bushings, but are more efficient and are sealed against dirt and sawdust. In practical terms, they have identical strength properties.